Around 1,000 slum dwellers living around the airport boundary protested against the survey of hutments, which are allegedly on private land, outside the Mumbai suburban collector's office in Bandra on Wednesday.
“Under the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966, only the owner of a private land has the right to survey the land,” said Godfrey Pimenta, a lawyer representing the slum dwellers.
“They have been treating us like encroachers on the airport land despite us showing them the 7/12 land extracts of the rented property," said Rizwan Haider, a Jarimari resident.
The process of relocating slum dwellers from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) land began in 2007. But, it was only last week that the collector's office discovered that certain patches of the slum pocket are privately owned.
While the airport operator claims that slums have encroached 276 acres of airport land, the lease agreement signed between the AAI and the Mumbai International Airport Limited demarcates 147 acres as encroached land. The rest of the hutments are on land belonging to the civic body, state government and private owners.
"The additional collector, rehabilitation and resettlement, has assured us that they will stop surveying houses on private land," said Nicholas Almeida, one of the protestors.
Mumbai suburban collector, Nirmal Deshmukh was unavailable for comment.